The Scarlet & Black

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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Women’s soccer remain’s valiant

Forward Simona Bambi '20 fights for control against Coe College
Forward Simona Bambi ’20 fights for control against Coe College

At the start of Wednesday’s game, the Grinnell women’s soccer team probably did not think they were going into overtime. Coe College’s aggressive strikers weren’t letting up, and it only took 13 minutes before one of them was able to take advantage of their forward play to tap in a goal. Yet as the match went on, the Pioneers were able to find their legs, and by the time the buzzer went off, the players could say they put on an admirable performance, even if it did register as a 2-1 loss on their schedule. 

In the first few minutes of the game, however, Coe was quick to establish dominance. Moving their midfielders into positions outside Grinnell’s box, Coe was able to sustain their momentum for a while, enabling quick runs towards the net that kept Grinnell’s defensive line reeling back on their toes. It was off one of these runs that Coe’s star striker was able to capitalize, threading through gaps in Grinnell’s defenders to put one in. It was this goal, however, that seemed to be the catalyst for the Pioneers to tighten up their game.

“We kinda got settled in, the defense really held each other accountable, I think that really helped,” said Regan Kasprak ’19, who is currently serving as the team’s temporary goalkeeper.

Throughout the game, Kasprak had nine saves, despite being backup to Polly Carr ’18, who is currently nursing a concussion. This performance was also on the back of a shutout on Saturday at Buena Vista University.

“I’ve never played goalkeeper, [but] I play on the basketball team here, so [Coach Kirsten Koester] kinda thought that athleticism wise I’d be OK,” said Kasprak.

Offensively, for the first 20 minutes, Grinnell pursued a “long ball” strategy, having the defense punt it for strikers Carolyn Silverman ’17 and Valencia Alvarez ’20 to take the ball and run towards net. This style of play turned out to be largely ineffective, and oftentimes succeeded just at turning over possession to Coe. Later in the half, however, the Pioneers focused on bringing up their midfield into Coe’s side of the field, and that led to a multitude of chances on goal.

Reacting to the new attack, Coe’s back line began to play rough. Several fouls gave Grinnell numerous chances right outside Coe’s box, yet the Pioneers never capitalized on the opportunities. Silverman took five shots on net throughout the game, and many of these were off these set plays. The momentum did bring new life to the Pioneers though, and by halftime the team was optimistic that they could come back.

Starting the second half, the Pioneers decided to take a more methodical, organized approach to the match. Co-Captain Nora Sahel ’17 shored up the midfield, taking a lot of back passes from the strikers as they set up an attacking structure around Coe’s box. This strategy led to a lot more organic chances by the Silverman and Alvarez, who attempted to capitalize on the plethora of crosses that were now coming in from Sahel, Lauren Hurley ’18 and LilyRose Weiss ’18. Eventually, the Pioneer’s renewed energy was rewarded when a foul was called in Coe’s right corner, and Sahel stepped up to take the kick. She placed the ball high and in the center, and soon a tussle ensued in the box. Out of the chaos, Weiss was able to touch a foot to the ball and put a low shot into the net, tying up the score.

With only 15 minutes left on the clock, Coe renewed their aggressive style. Fouls happened all over the field, and exasperated calls to the referee seemed to be the norm. Despite hard play on both sides of the field, the score was still tied at 90 minutes and overtime began. Until the last few minutes of second overtime, it seemed like a stalemate was going to ensue, but then a Coe player notched her first career goal to push her team to victory.

Even though they put another “L” into their rivalry record, Grinnell is confident that they can bounce back against Nebraska Wesleyan this Saturday, Sept. 17 on Springer Field.

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